Thinking Three By Don Foster

Whenever you have an opportunity, use this exercise to train your eyes and mind to evaluate an object (anything, anywhere) in much the same step-by-step way you'd have to make decisions about its portrayal on canvas.

  • Is it above, below, or at your eye level?
  • Is it close by, mid-distance, or far away?
  • When you look at it, is it dead center, to the right, or to the left of your line of vision?
  • Is it predominantly horizontal, vertical, or diagonal?
  • Are there obvious surfaces that recede (turn away) from your line of vision?
  • Is the object large, of medium size, or small?
  • Is it squared, rounded, or triangular?
  • Is it light, dark, or a middle value?
  • Does it fade into nearby objects or does it seem totally disconnected?
  • Does it have sharply defined edges, soft edges, or both?
  • Does there appear to be space between it and other objects seen?
  • Is it showing predominantly warm or cool color?
  • Is its color brilliant, subdued, or dull?
  • Does the dominant surface appear to be smooth, textured, or rough?
  • What will be the main interest in your composition, of secondary importance, or merely serve a supportive role?
  • What are you going to show, what are you going to whisper about, and what are you going to shout about?
  • What are you going to use to stir curiosity and the imagination, hold interest, or lead attention back to your focal point area?
  • What do you want viewers to see, first and foremost? What do you want them to think?
  • What do you want them to remember?

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